Karleila Thomsen

Hospital workers latest in cuts

QUEENSLAND Health job cuts have hit administration staff at Hervey Bay Hospital.

Staff on two temporary contracts for locum administration positions, one in Hervey Bay and one Bundaberg, were told last week their positions would not be renewed.

At least one staff member will go back to their former role, but the move has raised questions from the Together Union about accountability in checking the training standards of fill-in doctors.

Together Union industrial organiser for Wide Bay Donna Webster questioned the decision not to renew the contracts and said the two roles were used to organise fill-in doctors and vet their credentials.

"Brisbane instructed them to get rid of the roles," she said.

"The expectation is other staff will pick up what they do."

A Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service spokesperson said there had been a decline in the use of locum doctors and nurses due to recent success in recruiting permanent staff.

"Whilst this is great news for our community, it also means there is less workload for these temporary staff in organising locum placements," the spokesperson said.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service could not provide a figure of how many locum staff were used on a weekly or monthly basis.

"Locum numbers vary from week to week depending upon medical staff leave or vacancies," the spokesperson said.

A preventative health program in Hervey Bay has also had its funding cut after Health Minister Lawrence Springborg last week slashed more than $4 million from the annual Queensland Health grants scheme.

The Fraser Coast Healthy Lifestyle Program coordinator, run by Wide Bay Medicare Local, was the only program in the region to lose its funding.

Wide Bay Medicare Local could not confirm if there would be job losses as a result of the grant cuts.

It was one of more than 30 preventative health programs across the state to lose funding.



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